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According to the section on privileges it seems that I should be able to see a list of protected questions, however clicking upon the link leads to this page explaining that I don't have the required 15,000 reputation to see the list of protected questions.

It seems sensible to me to require 15,000 reputation to protect or unprotect a question, however I'm wondering if this is a mistake as to why I cannot see a list of such questions or activity pertaining the process of (un)protection.

If this isn't a mistake, what is the reasoning behind such a high reputation barrier?

In support of transparent lists of what is protected and not protected, I offer the following reasons:

  1. There doesn't seem to be strong reasons for the protected question lists to be hidden from users which can't change these lists, and so the site should be more transparent.

  2. Allowing more users to engage with the list may allow for greater feedback and monitoring of protected questions, such as a user being able to mention it to moderators that perhaps the question's protection status should be revised. This may help the moderators and generally improve engagement on the site by allowing users who wish to engage more to do so, without the harms of allowing these users to (un)protect questions.

  3. It's simply more fun. I just found a "Highly Active Question", and thought "Hmm, I'd like to see more highly active questions (which might have a higher quality of answers, since that's the main intention behind protecting questions)!".

  4. If a user is on the verge of 15,000 reputation, surely it'd be more helpful for when they hit 15,000 reputation, if their capabilities on the site are already stronger, they can think about protection, learn standards better, prepare questions to revise the protection status of for when they become mods.

Some images for those who don't want to click for themselves:

The privileges description page

Upon clicking the link in the region highlighted one arrives at:

The page denying me access to a full list of protection status'

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  • Welcome to TeX.SX! Although this is possibly a valid concern, I don't think there's much we (TeX.SX community) can tell you (maybe moderators, but I'm not sure even know about this stuff). Perhaps you could ask this same question at the main meta site, where the site developers are active and can probably tell you the reasoning behind this – Phelype Oleinik Dec 13 '19 at 14:37
  • I'll ask over at the meta site, but will leave this question up for a few days first to see if there's anyone here who knows about this. – Brayton Dec 13 '19 at 23:24
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    Sure! If you get an answer in the main meta, you can even post it here for future reference. – Phelype Oleinik Dec 14 '19 at 0:12
  • I can't say I've ever looked at the list, why is it interesting information? I can see possibly useful to a moderator to know which questions have been protected but it seems completely useless information to anyone else surely? – David Carlisle Dec 20 '19 at 0:22
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The protected question list is nothing special and compares well with the moderator tools page (viewable at 10k reputation). For some users it is helpful to identify posts that may need attention, while for others it's only something they visit once a month, or once a year, if at all. Both provide access to information that the average user most likely won't be interested in. Perhaps you're not average, sure, but that's how it's set up.

You can view this list (or something similar) using a data query (knowing that question protection is recorded in the PostHistory table where the attribute PostHistoryTypeId is 19; see the database schema). The data query list shows more questions, since it may also include questions that have since been unprotected. On the other hand, it also shows the number of answers associated with each protected question which is not listed in the 15k+ privilege list.

What's the reason behind such a high reputation requirement? It's not so much related to the list as it is to the authority it provides on the site. It's the final moderation privilege before becoming a trusted user (20k reputation) and provides the user with the power that could prevent certain users from answering a question when, technically, you can answer any (unprotected) question from reputation 1. "With great power comes great responsibility."

Some candid responses to your statements/questions:

  1. Sure. The list is meant to give a quick overview of the questions that have had problematic behaviour previously. And it's often experienced users (those who've been around long enough) who concern themselves with behaviour that is unbecoming... newer users don't really show the same interest or care for the site and it's evolution, in general. So, it makes sense that there is some form of reputation criterion.

  2. Again, yes, sure. If you're really interested in feeling engaged but can't see the list, consider using the data query way. If you feel that a question should be unprotected as a result of your investigations, flag it with a moderator for review.

  3. A protected question is not always a question that is highly active. It may have been at some point, but isn't necessarily now.

  4. This seems similar to the notion of ones birthday. While you technically age 1 year on your birthday, you grow older every day and therefore feel very little in terms of change going from day 364 to 365, yet everyone only celebrates your birthday on your actual birthday. So, like with most milestones, wait until you achieve it before you celebrate it.

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